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The Custom Kiton Suit

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In Naples bespoke is not just a business, it’s part of the city’s mythos. The men here have cultivated a look—trousers cut close, jackets natural—that’s immediately recognizable. In reality it’s a mix of English structure and their own local flair and needlework—indeed, the Kiton factory here is a mini-shrine to the Duke of Windsor—but the combination draws men from the world over, stopping in Marinella’s for ties, Anna Matuozzo’s for shirts, buying trousers from Salvatore Ambrosi, shoes from Paolo Scafora, all to re-create a bit of Neapolitan sprezzatura. But perhaps only a local has the requisite attitude to complete the look. Take Antonio de Matteis, Kiton’s CEO, who was spotted in the Kiton factory. His belt was ancient and alligator, his bespoke suit more than a decade old—“Maybe it doesn’t button anymore,” he shrugged. “No problem.” The attitude can’t be bought, but Kiton does create made-to-measure and bespoke suits. For the former, in-store tailors do three fittings and send the results to Naples; about five weeks later, the suit is ready. For bespoke, a visit to Naples with one of Kiton’s maestros is required. One man takes the measurements, draws the pattern, cuts the cloth and does multiple fittings. The distinguishing mark is the jacket’s spalla camicia, or “shirt shoulder.” It’s a rounded style with a sleeve that seems to flow instead of being stitched in place. Ripples emerge from the shoulder, running down for an inch or so; Neapolitans call this effect “rainfall.” It’s the hallmark of the city’s style: seemingly slapdash and effortless but actually the result of painstaking effort and a lifetime of skill.

A Kiton made-to-measure suit starts at $8,500; bespoke, $17,000. For more information, go to kiton.com.

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